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Phuket: Scuba diving at Racha Yai

by Sanne
Scuba diving at Racha Yai, Phuket

I took a PADI Open Water Diver Course in Thailand back in 2003. I was blown away by this beautiful new world, which was revealed to me, and by the end of the course I had all the best intentions of pursuing what felt like a perfect hobby. I even played with the thought of dropping out of university to become a dive instructor at some exotic destination. That never happened, and except for a few dives in Krabi 5 years ago, my dive logbook was empty.

Things would probably have stayed that way if it weren’t because Karon Beach turned out to be such a boring place. On one of my first days in Karon, I saw the Sunrise Divers shop, and after 3 days, nothing could keep me from walking inside and book a scuba diving day trip.

Because it was so long since my last dive, I booked a scuba review tour, which included 2 dives with an instructor. I was a bit worried that I wouldn’t be able to remember anything, but the instructor assured me that it was just like riding a bike; your brain might have forgotten, but your body remembers.

The dives were at Racha Yai, which is a small island south of Phuket. I checked my gear and put on my mask. Then I took one big step, and I was in! Being able to breathe under water and literally swim with the fishes is an unbeatable feeling second to none! And there’s so much to see down there!

Corals, wrecks and even a motorbike were just some of the things we encountered. Regarding the motorbike, the story goes that two friends bought it together, but then they got into a fight and one of them threw the motorbike overboard from a ship. Now it provides the perfect selfie settings at the bottom of the sea.

As we were swimming around we came across a triggerfish. It was swimming towards me several times only to break off last minute and swim away again. I thought it was because it wanted to play, but my instructor told me, that it probably had a nest nearby, and the strange behavior was actually because it wanted to scare us away.

Apparently, triggerfish can be really aggressive and doesn’t hesitate to bite. The one we met had some really big teeth, but luckily, it calmed down, when we started swimming away from it.

The most amazing thing I saw that day was the Jenkin’s whipray. It was hiding on the bottom with only the eyes peeping up, so I would probably have swum right by, if the instructor hadn’t made me aware of it. He later told me that he hadn’t seen the Jenkin’s ray in this area for a very long time. Scuba diving is fantastic, and I’m so happy that I finally got into the water again.

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